Unbound Ranks: Masks


Masks can be used during sex for a variety of purposes, although the most common applications are role play and sensory deprivation.  In the case of the former, a more decorative aesthetic is typically preferable, and it may not always be desirable to have the mask impede vision.  In the case of the latter however, the better the obstruction of view the better, as hindered sight allows one to better hone in on physical sensation and enjoy the feeling of anticipation.

Most masks fall into one of several broad categories(2):

  • Cloth Blindfold: The most common type of blindfold, these are typically a length of square or rectangular fabric that is tied behind the head. 
  • Fashion Mask: These are typically worn for costume and roleplay and often do not fully impede vision (either by leveraging transparent fabrics or holes for they eyes)
  • Convertible Blindfold: A convertible blindfold is a blindfold that can also double as a mask. In some cases, these masks can feature removable eye-coverings.
  • Eye pad/patch Blindfold: These blindfolds are padded patches that rest over the eyes, and no other part of the face.
  • Sleep-mask Blindfolds: These blindfolds are typically a wide piece of kidney-shaped fabric meant to rest on the bridge of the nose and cover the eyes.  These are typically secured by an elastic band.  While these are sufficient for light bondage, they can slip off during more vigorous play.
  • Hoods: Hoods are a staple of more fetish-oriented BDSM play and roleplay and can feature additions such as built-in gags.  Hoods can instill a feeling of claustrophobia, so be sure to evaluate the comfort level of the wearer.  
In selecting the masks we feature in our online store, we tested a variety of samples that first cleared our initial hurdles of being made of body safe materials and not constricting circulation unduly, as these are the principle safety concerns associated with the product category (3).  Next we enlisted our pool of volunteer testers to evaluate them against a rubric of key attributes:
  • Ease of Use: Some blindfold-style masks require several knots to be secured, while other masks simply leverage an elastic band.  In the heat of the moment, we want to ensure that things are no more complicated than they need to be.
  • Effectiveness (when applicable):  For masks designed to block vision and light, we wanted to make sure they worked as promised. 
  • Fit: Everyone’s head is a different size, and a good mask is able to comfortably accommodate a range of different ones.  Not getting a headache from restricted circulation is almost as important as making sure your mask doesn’t slip off. 
  • Durability: Regardless of price point we believe the products we carry shouldn’t fall apart after only a few uses.  We made sure these masks could keep up with a variety of types of play.
  • Material: A mask that fits right but is made of an uncomfortable material is no fun to wear.  We tested to make sure all the masks we carry- from those make of silk to lace to faux leather- feel great, even after long wear.

In sourcing samples of the relevant mask categories to evaluate, we focused on those that had received the best ratings in terms of the above from sex blogger and sexpert reviews (5), customer feedback on other e-commerce retailer websites (6), and recommendations from our suppliers.

When then presented these samples to ten willing volunteers representing a variety of ages, genders and body types and asked them to try on each sample and rank it on the basis of the above metrics using a scale of 1-10 (though in the case of more decorative masks we asked candidates to ignore whether the mask effectively blocked sight. In addition to providing feedback on all of the above metrics we also asked all participants to provide a holistic score for each restraint on a scale of 1-10.  These scores were averaged and used as a basis to rank all the samples that were tested.

Most comfortable (higher price point): Far and away the most comfortable mask we tested was Luz de la Riva’s silk “Camille” mask, which we believe justifies by its higher price point. The only challenge with the silken texture of the mask was that knotting it behind the head required an extra study knot, as otherwise it risked slipping. 

Easiest to use (all price points): KinkLab’s simple sleep-mask style padded faux leather blindfold effortlessly slips over the head to rest in place comfortably on the bridge of the nose.  The elastic band was not too lose or too tight for most of our testers and the padding helped the mask rest against the natural contours of the face without slippage. 


Most effective (all price points), most comfortable (low price point): Bijoux Indiscret’s silken “Shhh” mask was universally deemed the most effective at blocking out light due to the fact that it sits flush against the face with a ruched portion to accommodate the nose where other blindfolds would simply lie flat (creating apertures on either side of the nostrils for light).  The satin also feels nice against the skin, offering a more affordable if slightly less luxurious alternative to the Luz de la Riva mask.

KinkLab Padded

Bijoux Silk Blindfold

Luz de la Riva Camille

Bijoux Lazer Cut

Luxotiq Silk Ties

Ajour Chat Noir Mask

Hanky Panky Blindfold

Mask 1

Mask 2

Ease of Use

10

8

7

8

8

10

8

7

10

Effectiveness

8

7

8

NA

8

NA

8

NA

7

Fit

7

8

9

8

7

8

8

8

7

Material

7

6

10

7

8

8

8

7

7

Durability

8

8

9

7

7

8

8

7

7

Holistic Rating

8

8

9

8

8

8

8

7

7

A note on reviews:

The final (and most important) part of our curation process involves you!  We continually hone our product offering based on feedback from our customers and our testers in order to make decisions about which products to carry every quarter:

If you have tried one of our featured cuffs and would like to share your opinion with us please email thegirls@unboundbox.com.  All input- positive, constructive or otherwise will receive a discount code by way of thanks, so tell us what you really think! 

If you would be interested in helping our team test samples of restraints (or other products) in the future or for any further inquiries about our curation methodology please email lorraine@unboundbox.com.

 

Sources: 

  1. Megatron, Sunny. “The Top 10 BDSM Toys for Beginners”. https://www.kinkly.com/2/9692/sex-toys/the-top-10-bdsm-toys-for-beginners. October 20, 2015.
  2. Gentle Bonds.  “Types of Blindfolds”. http://gentle-bonds.tumblr.com/post/59459735212/types-of-blindfolds. August 26, 2013.
  3. Godson, Suzi.  “Ten Things You Need to Know Before You Blindfold Your Partner”. Huffington Post. http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/suzi-godson/blindfolding-your-partner-10-tips_b_4154547.html October 27, 2013.
  4. Uber Kinky.  “A Beginner’s Guide to Sensation Play”. http://www.uberkinky.co.uk/essential-guides/sensation-play-guides/beginners-guide-to-sensation-play.html.
  5. Kinkly. "Top Sex Blogs".  https://www.kinkly.com/top-sex-bloggers.
  6. Chiefly Adam and Eve, Good Vibrations, and Babeland. 

Whatcha think?


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